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Author: Kirbi Fagan

The Art of Green

One of the projects on my desk is a book with scenes featuring a lot of…. green. In gardening, textiles, and decorating, green hues flow for me. I incorporate them generously so much so that I think of green as a neutral color – a backdrop of life on Earth. But this romantic thought comes to a screaming halt when I’m planning a composition with a lot of green. When I’m stuck with a problem…

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Cultivating a Critique Partnership That Lasts

Critique from the wrong person at the wrong time can send an artist off their trail and put cracks in their confidence. I’m fortunate to have a few artists in my life who push my work with experience, expertise, and friendship. Finding and building these relationships is a journey on its own. To talk to you today about critique partnership and how to get more value from crits, I’d like to introduce to you my…

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Taking the Reins of Your Art Career

Last week I received the news that the novel I recently illustrated, A Horse Named Sky is #4 on the New York Best Seller list! A Horse Named Sky includes over 100 illustrations drawn traditionally (a big first for me!)  I feel especially excited to share this on Muddy Colors because this extended community has been a big part of the foundation of all I’m creating today. If you have been illustrating for a while…

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Things to Think About When Illustrating Horses

It’s about a month now before A Horse Named Sky hits bookstores. This book has my inner tween-ager feeling completely giddy. When I approached illustrating this nearly 300-page book, it was not lost on me the challenge of drawing horses (a topic many artists grumble about.) I’m writing today to share with you some of the takeaways from my deep dive into drawing these incredible animals. Highlights Many great horse paintings or illustrations showcase specular…

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The Number One Art Tip Demystifed

If you’ve been practicing drawing for years, a newbie or a seasoned pro you know that age-old advice, “draw from life.” It seems to be the answer for all sorts of art questions, like, how can I get better?  How can I draw faster? How do I find my style? First, what is drawing from life? Drawing from life, or sometimes called, “drawing from observation’ is a practice where the artist draws what they see…

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An Illustrator’s Approach to Fundamentals

In one way or another, all artists must bridge the gaps in their education on their own. The concept of a mentor text was introduced to me while attending a writing conference. Writers studied a favorite piece to guide them through their process, for technical advice and encouragement. The Famous Artist Course has been on many of MC writers’ recommended reading lists, yet few budding illustrators know about one of the most complete guides to…

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Tra-digital Tell All

I first heard the term “Tra-digital” about a decade ago, most artists know it means when an artist combines traditional materials like paint and pencils along with digital tools like a Wacom tablet, iPad or Cintiq.  I’ve been developing my approach using both traditional and digital tools since I graduated from art school. I’ve avoided sharing my process online because my process is not pretty and not always linear. This process continues to develop for…

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A Note of Encouragment

I’m creating this post for the struggling illustrator, you can Bookmark it for future use – a letter of encouragement for when you are having a dark night of the soul. This is an artist-to-artist shakedown in case of emergency. I’m Kirbi Fagan – illustrator, writer, maker, and for today, your very own hype girl. So if you need a bit of encouragement when art-making has gotten a little too serious, read this.  Dear artist,…

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Basic Construction for Creating Costumes

Do you find you have collected a tinsy bit of information about everything you’ve drawn? Maybe there are a few objects you’ve drawn so many times you can draw at any angle from your imagination? Many people call this your visual library – a compilation of images in your head you’ve committed to memory through exposure, practice, and repetition. In addition to being an illustrator, I also sew, which has changed the way I draw…

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